Industry Canada is moving to make good on the government’s commitment to report annually on Canada’s progress in meeting the targets and objectives set out in the national Innovation Strategy. The department has issued a request for proposals (RFP) for an Innovation Benchmarking Report that will include an innovation index comprised of several indicators to monitor national innovation performance “in absolute terms and in relation to major competitors”.
The contract — potentially worth more than $1 million — provides up to $400,000 for the first report, to be delivered by November 30. An additional $50,000 is available for a one-day event to showcase the report’s official release, with the potential for follow-on reports and events slated for late 2004 and late 2005. Responses to the RFP will be accepted until June 2 and an advisory board to include Industry Canada’s chief economist will review the preparation of the report.
The final report will be structured along the lines of the four themes set out in Achieving Excellence, the original Innovation Strategy document released in February 2002. The four theme areas are knowledge performance, skills performance, innovation environment and community-based innovation. Each innovation indicator chosen must be benchmarked against at least 10 competing nations.
Canada is not alone in aggressively ramping up its innovative capacity. Virtually every other G-7 nation has set similar innovation targets, including gross expenditures on R&D (GERD) equal to at least 3% of gross domestic product.
The RFP stipulates that the report must include colour graphics and be written in a style “accessible to senior policy makers and the public”. A baseline of indicators will be established to measure progress against the targets and the 18 priority actions listed in the summary document from last November’s national summit in Toronto.